‘Forest standing, fascism on the ground’, says Txai Suruí


São Paulo – “I saw up close all the destruction, all the neglect and all the hatred of this government,” said indigenous activist Txai Suruí. She gave an emotional speech during the Super Live Brasil da Esperança, meeting of representatives of social movements and civil society, parties, artists, intellectuals and influencers. The event tries to mark a sprint for the campaign of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, six days before the first round of the presidential election. Txai called on those present to look at the Amazon, where there is “an invisible war”. And he asked for the election of Lula, the only candidate who has oscillated upwards in the last polls.

The indigenous woman remembered the dead in the forest. Killed during the four years of President Jair Bolsonaro’s government, when the destruction of the forest advanced with illegal, burning, neglect and dismantling of structures to defend the environment. “I could spend all the time I have here talking about the warriors who died for loving and defending the forest. I hope my name is never on that list. Not from my father, great chief Almir Suruí, nor from my mother, environmental activist, Neidinha,” she said.

With a choked voice, he regretted knowing that this is not very difficult to happen. “Especially in the times we live in now.” In addition to the escalation of violence in the forest, she recalled Bolsonaro’s neglect of covid-19. “I buried my two dead grandmothers of covid for the way this pandemic was handled. I felt the threats to our lives increase every day. I don’t know if you know what it’s like to live under threat for defending your home, for defending our forest. I come from one of the most dangerous places for environmental activists and defenders.”

“Warrior of the forest never freezes, does not please the unjust and does not turn yellow. We will continue to resist, as we are the last generation that can save the Amazon.”

She mentioned the danger that lurks in the lives of forest defenders. “I buried my friend Ari Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau, who was murdered for being a guardian of the forest. Not just him. I buried my two grandmothers who died of covid for how this pandemic was handled. I felt the threats to our lives increase every day.”

Txai Suruí remember cases of violence in the forest, such as the murder of environmentalist Bruno Pereira and British journalist Dom Phillips. “Together with the indigenous peoples, I denounced the invasions and illegal mining. I cried and cry to this day for all the Yanomami women and young people who are being raped. The Amazon is living an invisible war that neither Brazil nor the world knows about”.

I am young and I have a message for all young people. We have to look and understand that without a forest there is no life. Everyone’s life. We are experiencing a climate crisis and we need radical and urgent changes. We can’t accept that all this I’ve told continues to happen. That’s why we have to take responsibility for defending democracy and fighting fascism.

“The best way to defend the forest is with indigenous people, black people, people from the favela, women, making decisions as well. The best way, too, is to elect Lula as president,” said Txai Suruí. Leader of the Indigenous Youth Movement and the Kanindé indigenous movement, in Rondônia. She was the first indigenous person to speak at the opening of a climate conference. “That’s why I’m here today. Without the forest there is no Brazil. We are the Amazon. Indigenous people, quilombolas, riverine people. All we are here. Forest standing, fascism on the ground.”

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